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Guide to Buying Appropriate Wedding Gifts

You just received a wedding invitation, and you are ecstatic to be part of someone’s special day.  Between planning what to wear and deliberating whether or not to take [...]

You just received a wedding invitation, and you are ecstatic to be part of someone’s special day.  Between planning what to wear and deliberating whether or not to take time off from work, you stress over what present to give the couple. 

You start making a checklist for the perfect gift: unique but not whimsical, traditional but not simplistic, useful but not tasteless.  On top of this, you need to be conscious of the couple’s traditions, religion, and personal inclinations.  No matter how well you know the couple, gift giving remains a perplexing task that you wish comes with an instruction manual.  Lucky for you, we have come up with a guide to choosing and buying the appropriate wedding gift. 

Check for the Gift List First 

You don’t want to risk buying a gift that the couple already owns or doesn’t need. A study conducted by The Knot 2019 Wedding Registry shows that the majority of soon-to-be-married couples create an online wish list, with a large percentage choosing traditional retail products, such as bake ware, cookware, and kitchen appliances. By picking an item from the couple’s registry, you can’t possibly go wrong.   

But what if the items in their registry are no longer available?  What if you can’t afford the options on their wish list?  Do not fret.  It is permissible to give the couple something that is not in their wish list. In this case, checking their wish list will help you determine the couple’s preferences, allowing you to come up with unique ideas that are within the boundaries of their style.

Put Towards the Honeymoon 

Traditionally, honeymoons happen immediately after the wedding, but an increasing number of couples are delaying their romantic getaway to a later date for various reasons. Going on a trip abroad is expensive, and after paying for the wedding bills, some newlyweds may need to save for their dream destination. The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic makes travelling not only inconvenient but also risky and time-consuming. Nowadays, getting a premium travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and coronavirus coverage has become a necessity, adding to the couple’s expenses.

Although many couples still ask for traditional gifts in their registries, there is a subtle change in the trend.  Twenty per cent choose cash funds for their honeymoons over material presents.  Some wedding registries have links to a honeymoon fund, giving guests the option to give cash towards the couple’s holiday bucket list.  Your contribution can help cover airfare and accommodations or pay for an intimate dinner cruise and a relaxing day at a spa.

What is the appropriate amount to give to the couple?  According to Honeyfund, a popular US-based honeymoon registry service, the average amount is $150. To break it down, that is $250 for family and close friends and $50 to $75 for casual acquaintances.  For the UK, etiquette expert Diane Gottsman suggested £100 or more for family, at least £75 for close friends, and £25-£50 for work friends or distant relatives.

Give Experiences 

Fun fact: skydiving is more fun than getting a juicer!  While pots and pans have their charm, nothing beats the memories you create with the love of your life.  For this reason, more couples are opting for experiences over physical objects. Besides, giving experiences is sometimes more thoughtful and significant than cash, and undoubtedly special moments are longer-lasting than wine.

Before you decide to give an experience as a wedding present, be sure that you know the couple’s hobbies and interests.  Some couples are incurable thrill-seekers, while others are more laid back.  If you want to surprise the newlyweds, ask their close friends or family for ideas. 

For couples who love food, a culinary class is a perfect gift, whether it’s a expansive luxury tour of Italy culminating in a traditional cooking session for two or a crash course in sushi-making at a local Japanese restaurant. Consider booking adventurous couples for tandem skydiving, a hot air balloon ride, or a canyoneering tour.  You can also opt for something simple but personal such as a spa day, theatre tickets to their favourite show, sunset cruise, or wine sampling tour. If the options are pricy, you can budget in advance or invite other guests to pitch in. 

Be Sustainable 

We can’t stress enough why giving sustainable presents is one of the best options when it comes to gift-giving. The newlyweds will appreciate your thoughtfulness in giving them a meaningful and purpose-driven gift that promotes fair trade and eco-friendly values.   Sustainable gifts can be costly because they are made of premium materials and designed to last a lifetime, but they are well worth the price.  Besides, getting a chance to save the environment is something money can’t buy.

There are loads of sustainable options available, from organic aprons to recycled glass wines to cutting boards made of repurposed wood to hand-woven silk fabrics.  If you want something the couple can pass on to the next generation, consider giving pre-owned vintage jewellery.  Doing so does not only make a fascinating story that the couple can share with their family, but it also helps the environment in the long run.

Be Charitable 

Maybe couples are taking a cue from Harry and Meghan. Perhaps they already have most of life figured out, and kitchenware is the least of their concerns.  Whatever the reason is, a growing number of couples prefer to donate to charities instead of getting material presents. 

And why not? There is no better time to give back than this season of love.  Because, as sentimental as sounds, weddings are a celebration of love. Besides, the traditional purpose of giving wedding gifts is to help newlyweds set up their new homes. Most modern couples, however, have already established their households, having lived together before tying the knot.  So, what’s the use of another blender, serving platter, or tea set?  

There are countless of charitable institutions that need your generosity.  Be sure to know which organization the newlyweds prefer, as they may have chosen it for personal reasons. Remember, weddings are not the proper venue to advocate your personal views, political stance, or religious beliefs.  If the couple did not specify an institution, consider giving to an organization that shares their values. For instance, if the newlyweds are nature lovers, consider donating to wildlife conservation, such as adopting a tiger or a rhino, or saving the turtles from extinction.

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Laura.Bartlett

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